Below is a letter I wrote to my parents a little over a year ago.
Why do I feel like sharing it tonight? Well, a few reasons. I just spent the evening with some new friends watching a movie I didn't really like all that much based on a book I liked even less but which both contained the life lesson of change and transformation.
And I realized, again, how much we change. I say we, but perhaps that is arrogant. I have changed. I have changed since a year ago and I have changed since a year before that.
In less than 2 weeks the calendar will remember a wedding anniversary that won't happen. In about a month my body will remember a baby that wasn't. In a few months my brain will have to accept the age of 30.
It can be hard, it can be horribly frightening.
But ultimately, I think it is worth it.
So I want to share this letter with you because I think it marks for me a significant moment of change in me, a moment that changed my relationship with my parents, and a moment that changed my relationship with myself.
July 2, 2009
Mama and Daddy,
So I have the apartment to myself this evening and I decided to do some more cleaning. I am slowly sorting stuff into piles of “throw away” “give away” and “keep”… this goes for clothes, shoes, and such but tonight I opened a box I hadn’t opened in, well, I can’t remember and started going through a bunch of papers. I found old birthday cards, old photos, and old letters.
Letters from me to you (individually and together), cards to you, notes to you…. And then I found notes and postcards and letters from you (again, separately and together) to me.
I must admit that I gave up reading them at one point because crying isn’t very conducive to reading.
Maybe I am just overwhelmed with life (some not so good news with work, a tiff with Matthew, plans for the summer falling apart), but for some reason reading these old letters made me cry… the full on cry, with the runny nose and the headache.
I am not sure if you would know what letters I am referring to… I am not sure I could describe them in a way that would make sense.
But they are making me very sad. Because they are from a few different time periods… back when I was little and you would write to me…. Back when I was a teen and I would write to you…
And I am face to face with tangible evidence of parental love and of teenager stupidity.
I don’t know what happened. I don’t really remember a whole lot from even a few years ago let alone my childhood and teenage days, I know that I made mistakes. I know I took you both for granted. I know I acted out, acted badly, I know I hurt you.
I don’t know what I am doing in this email, I just felt the need to acknowledge that these things matter, that I wish there was a way to go back to before whatever it was that changed me from the daughter you could write silly loving letters to into the angry confused daughter who wrote you letters that were nether silly nor loving.
Although, I guess I am still the confused daughter who is writing you a letter. But I’m not angry anymore.
Yeah, I sort of already knew that. But I want to be more than a writer. I have reached the moment where I want to be an author.
This means sacrifice.
Fewer social obligations. Fewer books read. Fewer hours watching TV shows that I don't really care about. Fewer other projects.
Also, this means
In other words. I need to write, I need to finish, I need to get an agent.
Agents.... publishers... I need to connect. I need to hob nob. I need to network.
I need to go to conferences.
There is one in SF in February. I have been mulling it over for a while now. It is expensive. Even though it is local, we are talking about $1000.
I think it would be worth it.
I would NEED to have something pretty concrete to market if I was there. No vague "I have an idea for a novel..." sort of thing but rather a "I am 75% done with my novel and it is about..." sort of thing.
I work well with deadlines. I always have. I like to plan, I like to make schedules. I like to have a looming Drop Dead Dates for completion.
I want to register for this conference.
I want to network, to meet agents, to shop my work. I want to get a book deal.
Compliance is important. It is also a bit of a headache. Yes, I understand that we need posters from every conceivable government agency posted in the work area. Yes, I understand that HIPPA has been updated, CHIPPA is new, and COBRA is essential. I just hate how it is such an almost impossible task to know what one needs, what one doesn’t need, what one should pay for, how much one should pay for a poster….
There is a company who will gladly send you updated posters for a fee. The problem is that they are sending us things that they admit we don’t need.
And just when I think the whole process is secretly out to drive admins such as myself into a deep pit of despair, something so bizarre happens that I have my faith in the idiocy of bureaucracy restored.
Our agency has a credit card machine that we use to take donations and to process sales (tee shirts, tickets on the Chardonnay, raffle ticket sales, etc.
In order to be in compliance I recently had to answer a questionnaire about our use of said machine.
They wanted to make sure we aren’t terrorists.
The questions went like this:
A) This organization adheres to accepted financial and record-keeping standards. * Comply Do Not Comply
B) This organization does not knowingly provide financial, technical, in-kind, or material support to any individual or entity that supports or engages in terrorist activity. Furthermore, this organization takes reasonable steps to ensure that its funds and resources are not used by this organization, or any organization to which these funds are distributed or re-granted, to support terrorists or terrorist activity. * Comply Do Not Comply
C) None of our officers, directors, or affiliated organizations (e.g. subsidiaries or parent organizations) support or engage in terrorist activity. * Comply Do Not Comply
D) This organization does not re-grant to other organizations, individuals, programs and/or projects outside the United States of America (failure to comply with this statement will not automatically disqualify your organization). Comply Do Not Comply
Did you read question B? Did it make your head hurt?
I mean, sure… it is good to make sure people aren’t terrorist… but… if I was a terrorist, would I admit to it on this form?
And what makes this even better… this isn’t the first (nor the last) such form that we have had to fill out vowing to not be evil terrorists.
Again, compliance is good. The practical application of staying in compliance… a whole other kettle of fish.
I guess we shouldn’t be surprised by Fox News anymore… The whole “what sort of useless mean spirited misleading bull crap will they come up with next” game seems to be passé now because, honestly, it just gets worse and worse.
Like this: Mr. Rogers is evil.
Mr. Rogers… was bad for kids.
Well… apparently, by telling a whole generation of kids that they were special, not for any particular reason, just special for being themselves…. Has led to a generation of spoiled entitled bratty people who are a plague upon society. Here’s the clip if you can stomach it.
Yeah, back to the What?
Excuse me, do I really need to point out that there is a huge difference between telling a kid “You are speical” and telling them “You are better than everyone else.”?
The first is empowering. Inspiring. Uplifiting. Kind. Important. And something that all kids need to hear.
The second… well. It isn’t any of those things but most importantly, it isn’t what he was saying to the kids.
You are special! Vs You are better than others.
Or shall I put it this way,
What Mr Rogers Acutally said Vs What the pundits at Fox News are saying that he taught kids.
Again, a big shake of the head at this fake news channel.
I loved Mister Rogers. I loved that he encoraged imagination. That he was sweet and seemed caring and kind. I loved that he signed off each show by promising to be back (an important thing for kids to hear from caring adults).
“You make each day a very special day, you know how? By just you being you.There’s only one person in the whole world like you. People can like you just the way you are.”
Mister Rogers, you were a good neighbor and a friend to children. You are missed.
What happens when you get a whole bunch of kintters together who have extra yarn and a bit of free time?
Yarn bombing, yarnbombing, graffiti knitting or yarnstorming is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colorful displays of knitted or crocheted cloth rather than paint or chalk. While yarn installations – called yarn bombs or knit bombs – may last for years, they are considered non-permanent, and, unlike graffiti, can be easily removed if necessary. The practice is believed to have originated in the U.S. with Texas knitters trying to find a creative way to use their leftover and unfinished knitting projects, but it has since spread worldwide
And lo and behold, it happened here in Santa Cruz.
It is actually a pretty good sized tree.
I have to say, I think the idea is great. Non permanent, artistic, colorful, fun…. What’s not to love?
I sort of wish I had a front yard so that I could yard bomb my own trees!
Of course, I showed these photos to my niece Olivia (age 5) and she has now decided that she needs a scarf like the tree. I am trying to finish it for her before her birthday… wish me luck!
Leave work on time. Go to gym. Work out thus negating all the fatty food that has been recently consumed. Walk home. Finish one of the six blog posts that are thiiiiis close to being ready to post. Organize the “working on” fiction folder on the desktop. Do the dishes.
You get the idea.
Instead: I left work just a smidge past on time. I did not go to the gym; however I also didn’t go into the DQ and eat ice cream, so I am going to consider this a wash. About a block from home, I got an idea for a story. A novel really. Actually, I remembered a story I had thought up years ago but never got around to writing down and then forgot. Suddenly, that story was back in my brain, more complex, more visual. Whole passages began to form in my head. I saw the cover art. The twist was there and the little clues that might have led the reader to guess it dropped like rain drops from a leaky gutter in my mind.
I had to stop at the store and buy milk. (Can’t write without milk) and the whole time I was chanting “don’t forget it this time” in my head.
Anyway. I got home, turned on the NEW laptop and checked my email where I discovered that I had actually posted a blog today. Unintentional, sure. But still. It’s down there, below this one and it is pretty much just a video with no real explanation. Although, to be fair, if you actually watch the video, you probably wouldn’t need an explanation.
But relying on that post to be today’s post seemed like cheating.
So, you also get this one.
And maybe soon I can get around to finishing the following posts:
“It's so cold today,” LuAnn said, “I guess I missed the window of nice weather here in Santa Cruz.”
Matilda looked up, “Won’t it be nice again for a bit in September?”
Matilda looked up, “It’ll be nice again for a bit in September, won’t it?”
Matilda looked up, “I have heard that it might be nice again for a bit in September. What do you think?”
Quick class, which is the best response?
The final, and most diplomatic choice, is not my natural inclination. Sadly, my off the cuff responses to things tends to fall into the first category, what some people might call Questioning While Asserting and Thus Implying Condescension.
Audience, to be sure, matters. If LuAnn is the local, or has been the local longer, she is right no matter what while Matilda should really just nod and smile. If, however, Matilda is the local, she can pretty much say whatever she wants; “Nah, it’ll be nice in September.”
I kid, but only sort of. Tone an inflection count for a lot… and by a small change in word order it is possible to really affect the perception your words have.
For some reason, I have been thinking about this a lot lately.
I have a tendency to talk and think as I talk or afterwards, or sometimes not at all. I know I need to be more conscientious of what I say, who I say it to , and what may or may not be implied.
Language is funny… and even funnier than how we use it, is what a land mine it can be. And at 29 I am still learning. –Le-Sigh-
What’s this? A blog? Holy smokes! What pulled me out of my funk? My over-stressed-busy-little-bee-no-time-funk?
Was it getting locked out of my office and spending an eternity freezing, barefoot, and needing to pee in dark parking garage? No
Was it getting a new kitty cat, falling love with her, and reaffirming my bond to the Maifan-san? No
Was it getting really stressed at work and yet still loving work and having wacky Yacht Club adventures? No
Was it going to the doctor and being told that I am a medical oddity and that they have no idea why my white blood cell levels are the way they are or why I am missing one type of white blood cell completely? No.
Was it realizing that I have gained about 15 pounds and yet my size 6 pants still fit making me wonder just where all that weight went? No! (better to not ask….)